Changing with the times

Matt Veno
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Truro Curling Club looking to adapt to attract new members

Changing with the times

TRURO - Times have changed.
And the Truro Curling Club is trying to change with those times.
The club is looking at implementing measures to help make it open to the modern-day family in light of dwindling registration numbers and a changing demographic over the past 15 years.
"It's a different time," said club president Peter Burgess. "People's lives are a lot different so we're trying to fit people's needs."
The club currently has 256 members, a figure that doesn't include junior players. Although those numbers are on par with last year, making it one of the largest clubs in Nova Scotia outside of HRM, the numbers still aren't where Burgess would like to see them.
"We're one of the healthier clubs in rural Nova Scotia," he said. "We don't have the numbers we want but we're not destitute."
Over the past 15 years numbers at the Truro club have been slowly declining. Burgess said the club has lost about 50 members and has gone from holding three draws a night for five nights a week to two draws per night. Even during those two draws there are still open sheets.
"There is free ice there and we want to have people out playing and enjoying it," Burgess said.
Burgess attributed the decline to an aging membership base.
"The demographic has changed and people are getting older," he said.
That's why the club wants to introduce changes to allow those of all age groups to enjoy the club. Some of the ideas include a reduced registration rate of $138.43 for the second half of the season - a $50 savings, a league where players register individually and teams are mixed at certain points - designed for players to meet new people, or split memberships that allow people to send someone in their place if they can't make a certain night.
"We're trying to be flexible to people's schedules," Burgess said.
But Burgess said the biggest challenge is getting people through the door. Once they are, he feels they would be hooked.
"It's a lot of fun," he said. "We're not a competitive club really, what we're about is enjoying the sport and having a beer after and a laugh with your friends."
Burgess said he realizes there are some people sitting on the fence who worry about looking foolish their first time out. But he said those who worry about that shouldn't.
"The people here are good people who will help," he said.
The club also offers a program called Learn To Curl, which teaches people how to play the game, allowing them to jump right in when they decide to play.
Burgess said he would encourage anyone to try the sport.
"I think it offers great value," he said. "It's a social, athletic experience in the centre of town and it provides a lot of benefits."
The second half of the season starts Jan. 25. For more information contact the club at 895-1639.

sports@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Truro Curling Club

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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